Trips to Delhi are intensely busy and chaotic...We cram in QC checks at factories, lunches and dinners with suppliers, sourcing and gathering new fabrics and ideas for upcoming collections, and keeping track of what’s going on at home with the business. Like all travellers, we crave that R&R time in every city, even if it’s for only a few days. To be able to soak in the country rather than rush through it. So as a side trip to our delhi visit, we visited Jaipur, Rajasthan - the pink city. An easy 1-hour flight from Delhi.
We booked a beautiful hotel with a beautiful day spa, complimentary daily yoga, a choice of indoor and outdoor pool areas, and an excellent reputation for local culinary delights. We would not need to leave the hotel for two days. All sorted. What I hadn't planned on was the concierge of the hotel offering me a hotel driver for 4 hours to show me the local sights, and a list of shopping 'must see's'. So my plans changed. I'd do 4 hours exploring on saturday morning, and then make the most of the hotels facilities....but that's before I found a treasure trove of beautiful vintage saris and fabrics in the back streets of Jaipur, which inspired me to dig a little deeper and see what else I could discover. My weekend turned from R&R into my most successful sourcing trip for sassind so far.Here is our list of must see’s and do's in Jaipur:
where to stay
- Sipping a martini at Polo Bar, which has a great ambience. Can also be enjoyed on the alfresco deck looking over the magnificent rambagh gardens and grounds.
- Enjoying the excellent room service menu with a great selection of traditional local rajasthan specialities. all silver served in your room by a butler. Amazing. cauliflower carry was a standout. always accompanied by little extras which I forgot to order. dipping condiments, fresh salad, steamed rice.
- Full a la carte breakfast (no buffet here) with a never-ending selection of western or rajasthan delights. the dosa is to die for. accompany with the green smoothie of spinach, fresh coconut, honey and yoghurt. Great shopping fuel.
- Complimentary morning yoga by the pool at 7 am every morning.
- Having the benefits of a genuinely knowledgeable concierge. tell him what you like, and he'll send you in the right direction. As it should be - but often is not these days. (Spoken by a true hoteliers wife princess).
- Stunning Indoor and outdoor pool areas. Always someone close by to bring you iced water and a cold face towel to refresh yourself. Homemade ginger beer left on my pool table while having a quick dip. Sunscreen on a silver tray…a lifestyle I could easily get used to.
- 12 acres of spectacular gardens and beautiful birdlife.
- Rose petal bath drawn for me each evening when I was out for a stroll; I did not request this, but I sure did appreciate it.
- Upgrade from a Toyota hotel car to a Jaguar, complete with experienced driver, iced water after each stop, and again the cold towels.
what to do in Jaipur
- Visit the Amber Fort - early in the morning at sunrise to beat the crowds and experience it in the beautiful morning light. One of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Don’t miss the hall of victory with it's mirrored ceilings.
- City Palace - situated in the heart of the city. The palace represents the best architecture of both the Rajputs & The Mughals. Beautifully carved pillars and halls depict the incredible artwork.
- Hawa Mahal - part of the city palace, consists of five stories and has beautifully carved windows. It’s believed to be designed in such a way that the royal women would sit behind these windows to see the life of the city as well as the processions passing through the city market below.
- Make time to wander through the gardens of Rambagh Palace. Hundreds of peacocks, and many other forms of birdlife.
- Go for a traditional panchakarma treatment (herbal massage) at Kerala Ayurveda Kendra inside the city walls. A load of treatments to pick from depending on your ailments.
where to shop
- Heritage India - for traditional jaipur blue and white pottery. A family run business with a vast knowledge of their craft and an eagerness to pass the knowledge onto interested customers. Happy to ship worldwide.
- Changi carpet & textile house. To see great displays of how their carpets and textiles are created. Beautiful block printed cotton which can be purchased by the metre that can be transformed into tailor-made pyjama’s inside of 4 hours and delivered to your hotel. A perfect place for gift shopping and unique interiors for the home. The printed silk selection is to die for.
- Saurashtra Impex - This is a real insiders tip. After going a little silly on their retail floor, I was invited up to the treasure trove that is their wholesale level. Wall to vintage wall saris, traditional Indian folk dress, trimmings and bedspreads....and then there was the cashmere throw rugs....and the vintage kantha bed spreads (total unique to what I've seen exported in the past). I spent 4 hours in this place alone, and came up with an idea for a dedicated range to be released for sassind spring/summer ’16 - '17 collection - 'the indian edit'.
where and what to eat & drink
- All of the food and beverage outlets at Rambagh Palace are excellent. For true Rajasthan cuisine go to Suvarna Mahal - their signature Indian restaurant. Hit Polo bar for an aperitif on the beautifully appointed deck before dinner.
- For street snacks and the best samosa in Jaipur, head just inside the Golcha Cinema, a stunning pink art deco building just around the corner from Bapu market.
- For fresh and seriously wholesome organic food, head to Anokhi Cafe. Have a poke around their retail shop while you're waiting for your meals. They have beautiful cotton apparel, and it’s also a great place to pick up an inexpensive gift.
- Aza is a luxurious classic library bar located at the Fairmont Hotel. The bar is decorated in the style of an emperor’s hunting lodge; everything from the books and sofa sets to the tiny windows and door has been royally designed. The Aza Bar is divided into a cigar room, a whisky bar, a large regular bar and an area for outdoor drinking. What also makes the Aza Bar stand out from the rest of the crowd is the grand wine cellar which they take pride in, offering a delicious selection of local and international wines.